Well can you? That change in the air, the light is different. Its a definite feeling. Spring is on its way. But be wary its still winter. February that most tricky of months, you are itching to get started on your flower patch but its still that little bit too cold and the light levels are still not great. But you can feel it coming, there are signs of life in your garden. Snowdrops are starting to flower, the shoots of the later bulbs like daffodils and tulip are starting to appear and big thick buds are appearing ready to burst forth on trees and shrubs. The Hellebores are the toughies, gradually rising up to stand proud in the garden ready for the first bees that might pop out on a warmer afternoon. The best thing about it now is it seems unstoppable even if the weather turns colder the changes still happen. February just gets on with things, slow and steady. It has been a cold month here in Lancashire with some hard frosts in the morning but also some nice spells of sunshine in the afternoon and that lovely feeling when you realise that you are still happily working in the garden after 5 o’clock.
I have done a few things in the flower patch, all my raised beds are cleared and weeded and ready for planting. I’ve applied a thick layer of well rotted manure over where I’m going to plant my sweet peas and I will put the supports up soon. That’s a job that always takes me longer than I expect. Just today I have given my greenhouse a good clean and straight away I can tell the light levels have improved in there.
But we all want to get sowing seeds and there are a few things that can be sown now, the best are Sweet peas, some of you may be feeling very smug as you did yours in the autumn. Or you could be feeling very sheepish if like me you sowed yours in the autumn they grew very lustily in that abnormally warm weather in November and then got completely knocked back in the -8 degrees we had in mid December and never really recovered. I lost a lot of my autumn sown annuals this year and know I’m not the only one. But gardening is like that it throws you a curveball every now and then. But fear not I sowed more Sweet peas at the beginning of February, put them on a sunny windowsill and here they are now.
I’ve moved them back outside into my unheated greenhouse now and will just keep an eye out for hard frosts but I think they will be fine now. So still plenty of time to get sowing those.
Ben has a great offer on for a bundle of 8 packets of Sweet Pea seeds for £13.80 so what are you waiting for!
The other annual that can be sowed now is Cobaea scandens. This is a real beauty but it needs a good long growing season and isn’t hardy so definitely needs some protection from frost. It can’t really be planted outside until the frosts have passed so you have to bear that in mind as it can grow quite fast in the warmth inside!
Its also called the cup and saucer vine and is one of the last things to flower on my cutting patch. Last year it didn’t really get going until October! But this year I have plans to grow it in the sunniest part of my garden in the hope that it will flower earlier. It has been suggested that you could grow it with your sweet peas and that it will flower after your sweet peas have finished but I’ve not tried that and my thought would be that this would compete with your sweet peas but could be worth a try. I’m sure there will be some of you that have success doing that. The seeds are quite large, like flat discs so they should be sown on their side into the compost.
Again I’ve put mine to germinate on a sunny windowsill. Excited for these, such exotic looking flowers that I’m hoping will cover a large area and flower well this year.
So get sowing your sweet peas and Cobaea but hold off on anything else and get yourself ready for the big push of seed sowing in March and April. Spring is on its way.